Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders Attend Human Rights Conferences

On Monday, December 10th, the Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders Institute in partnership with Pathways To Peace had the opportunity to attend two human rights conferences hosted by The United Nations in New York City.

The first conference focused on the concept of the “Rondine Method” which is a program in Rondine, Italy, where young people come from countries in armed conflict to ultimately discover “the person” within their enemies through daily cohabitation. “Rondine, Cittadella della Pace” is an organization committed to reducing global armed conflicts as well as spreading knowledge of its own creative methods for conflict transformation. The “Rondine Method” has carried out activities in several countries: Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia Herzegovina, Sierra Leone, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, and Colombia. Rondine’s training programs guide students from all over the world toward becoming leaders of peace in their own communities and actors of change in global civil society. Students who complete the two-year program become members of Rondine’s International Peace Lab (IPL), an association with approximately 200 youth leaders worldwide. The Mater Dei Prep students were fortunate to listen to stories about the Rondine’s International Peace Lab’s mission and experiences and left the conference feeling inspired and empowered.

“While listening to the powerful speeches of Franco Vaccari or Agharahim Poladov and listening to the stories of personal growth of the students, I found in me a revived faith on the possibility of changing the world, one day at the time, one step at the time, one book at the time, one student at a time. It is my responsibility as an educator and as a mother to teach tolerance, diversity, hope, trust, respect, to walk together to a brighter, more peaceful future,” said Mrs. Chiara Del Cogliano, world language teacher at Mater Dei Prep.

The second conference focused on the anniversary and sustainability of the human rights compact with the world. The speakers focused on digital security and control of the internet, climate damage and economic disparity between the wealthy and the poor.

"This conference provided a window to the world through the lens of others who are trying to protect the environment and the rights of the dispossessed,” said Mr. George Anthony, Head of the Global Leaders Institute at Mater Dei Prep.

“The Human Rights Conference that we attended was truly empowering. It opened my eyes to more issues and on a much larger scale. Hearing more about these human rights topics in the United Nations meetings allows us to see the importance of the individual people and how we can actually make a huge difference,” said Ishan Sharma MDP’19.

Ishan also had the opportunity to address the panel at the conference, asking, “are there any specific ideas a young individual like myself can do to ensure human rights and its agenda is being upheld in my own community?”

Alex Loznak, one of the conference leaders, answered Ishan’s question and said, “the answer was already in the question—the word community.” Mr. Loznak also stated, “it only takes one person to spread human rights being upheld.” Sherine Tadros, Head of New York (UN) Office of Amnesty International, and Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary General, also addressed Ishan’s question and said, “it is up to the young generation to continue spreading the agenda of human rights and take action to educate others about it.”

Callan Laux MDP‘19 also addressed the distinguished panel of speakers with a question that centered on a collaborative effort between The United Nations and civil society in designing a global certification program where students can earn awards or certificates within the human rights implementation paradigm. Her question was widely received by panelist Mr. Brett Solomon who said, “such a collaboration would bring in more student interest and involvement.” 

“This experience was extremely helpful and beneficial for the Global Leaders Institute to attend. We need to attend these meetings in order to stay current and up to date on these human rights issues,” said Sarah Wickham MDP’21.

The Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders Institute through their partnership with Pathways to Peace continues to lead the conversation on global peace and conflict resolution. For more information on the Mater Dei Prep Global Leaders Institute, please visit materdeiprep.org or email Mr. George Anthony at ganthony@materdeiprep.org
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